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Fat people face universal bigotry, and fatphobia is present all across this world. It’s truly an exhausting and uphill battle for fat people to be seen as fully human and live limitless lives when researchers like the ones in the U.K would rather see fat people in pain and misery.
Capitalism, fatphobia, and medical institutions do not want us to exist.
We are asking for racially and trauma-informed equitable healthcare. We are asking for health professionals that look like us and provide ethical care.
We are asking for all things owed, and all they’re giving us is a device that will bolt lock our jaws to prevent us from eating because the medical industry and “health” institutions view fat people and fatness as a disease, an epidemic, undisciplined people that need to be erased and/or controlled at all cost.
When I first saw this research hit my Twitter timeline, I froze. First, I read the header, and then I kept scrolling by—business as usual.
DentalSlim Diet Control is an oral device that uses magnetic control to keep the top and bottom jaws locked together. Researchers from The United Kingdom, in partnership with the University of Otago, created this device as a “supportive tool” for folks who are both interested in weight loss surgery and are lacking “discipline” with sticking to their liquid diet and also for folks who are interested in weight loss altogether and would like to supplement their meals with liquids.
I mean, what better way to help people who are possibly coming to you for some guidance than to tell them they lack discipline and structure, they’re untamable, and need to have their jaws locked? *sarcasm*
When reading this article debuting this research, two things that stuck out the most to me were how violent fatphobia is. When documenting how this device affects people’s day-to-day tasks, they shared, “Nevertheless, all the participants got accustomed to the device during the treatment period and were able to work effectively in their usual employment.” Because I mean, that would be terrible if this death gripping device prevented people in the U.K from carrying out their capitalism goals, right?
There’s literally a device meant to torture you into what thin people believe to be a “better” human, a “better” version of yourself yet. Still, whether or not you can carry out the responsibilities of capitalism is the top goal here.
This is fatphobia. This is terrorism. This is eugenics. This is psychological torture.
Researchers have identified and noted that fat people, during and after using this device, have experienced embarrassment, depression, and eating disorders while simultaneously seeming to forget to think about the after-effects of what using a device like this can have on someone. According to the National Eating Disorders Association, thirty million Americans will have an eating disorder; about 40% of those people are fat.
As someone who lives with an eating disorder, neither this device nor the researchers consider the emotional, mental, and social health reasons why someone might struggle with food or have a strained relationship with food. Yet, scientists and society continue to prescribe people in larger bodies yo-yo dieting, and everyone sits back and watches because fatphobia allows it.
The medical industry will continue to push devices such as these, procedures, regimens, etc., to reinforce their bias towards fat people. These researchers are literally telling fat people in the U.K that to receive adequate care, you need to be thin, and a part of being thin is surviving this device and only drinking all of your meals. Magnets will clamp your jaw down. A custom tool will be needed to unlock it.
Is this real life? Are we on the set of The Handmaid’s Tale?
Fat people do not need to lose weight to receive equitable access to supportive and holistic medical care. Forcing someone to lose weight to treat them is unethical. Fat people deserve to exist freely.
Have you heard about this new research and development in the U.K? Let me know what you think about this device?
Learn more about body politics and fatphobia here.